Chicago police officer, his sister accused of entering U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 face trial

Karol and Agnieszka Chwiesiuk rejected plea offers from prosecutors, records show. Lawyers in their case are set to begin jury selection Monday morning before U.S. District Judge Ana Reyes in Washington, D.C.

SHARE Chicago police officer, his sister accused of entering U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 face trial
Authorities say Karol Chwiesiuk sent someone this photo by text message on Jan. 6, 2021.

Authorities say Karol Chwiesiuk sent someone this photo by text message on Jan. 6, 2021.

U.S. District Court records

As they sifted through text messages allegedly sent by Karol Chwiesiuk the day the U.S. Capitol was attacked in January 2021, investigators found a photograph of Chwiesiuk standing in a crowd of people, beside a man wearing a red cap who was giving a thumbs-up.

Chwiesiuk wore a black coat over a beige hoodie in that photo. But on the left side of his chest, the hoodie featured an image recognizable to most Chicagoans — the emblem of the Chicago Police Department.

The FBI had already confirmed Chwiesiuk’s employment as a Chicago police officer as they investigated whether he was among those who not only broke into the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, but also entered U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley’s office during that day’s riot.

Finally, on June 10, 2021, authorities filed criminal charges against Chwiesiuk. They arrested him the next day for his role in the Capitol breach, an event that led to what is likely the largest criminal investigation in history. Now Chwiesiuk and his sister, Agnieszka Chwiesiuk, are set to become the first Illinois residents to fight such charges in front of a jury.

Their trial is scheduled to begin Monday, in the same courthouse where former President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges related to the riot and an alleged bid to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

“Monday starts the persecution of American citizens,” Nishay Sanan, the Chwiesiuks’ defense attorney, told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Twenty-five of the 39 Illinois residents charged so far in the Capitol attack have already resolved their cases. Twenty-eight Illinoisans have pleaded guilty. Two others, including Chicagoan Kevin Lyons, were convicted by judges who reviewed facts agreed to in court.

Lyons was sentenced last month to more than four years in prison — the longest sentence handed down so far to an Illinois resident in a Capitol riot case.

The Chwiesiuks rejected plea offers from prosecutors, records show. And lawyers in their case are set to begin jury selection Monday morning before U.S. District Judge Ana Reyes. The Chwiesiuks are charged with misdemeanors, with the most serious counts carrying a maximum sentence of no more than one year behind bars.

The pair are charged with entering and remaining in a restricted building; disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building. Karol Chwiesiuk is also charged with entering or remaining in a room designated for a member of Congress.

Authorities say this photo depicts Karol and Agnieszka Chwiesiuk inside the U.S. Capitol.

Authorities say this photo depicts Karol and Agnieszka Chwiesiuk inside the U.S. Capitol.

U.S. District Court records

Karol Chwiesiuk is listed as inactive and on a leave of absence from the Chicago Police Department, according to a CPD spokesperson.

The FBI laid out much of its case against Karol Chwiesiuk in a court document filed when he was charged in June 2021.

The FBI linked Karol Chwiesiuk to a device that had been near or inside the Capitol from 2:37 p.m. to 3:24 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2021, that document said. The device had been associated with an email account connected to Karol Chwiesiuk.

That email account received a “Stop the Steal” email on Jan. 5, 2021, predicting that the next day would be “historic” and listing scheduled events, including at the U.S. Capitol.

Geolocation data showed that Karol Chwiesiuk left Chicago on Jan. 4, 2021, arrived in Washington, D.C., the next day, and remained there until Jan. 7, 2021, according to the document. He returned to Chicago on Jan. 8, 2021, it said.

That data also showed Karol Chwiesiuk spent “a significant amount of time” in and around The Mayflower Hotel, where his sister had a reservation, the document said. But that data also showed Karol Chwiesiuk traveled from The Mayflower Hotel to the Capitol and back on Jan. 5, 2021.

The data then showed he spent 47 minutes in or around the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. During that time, 36 messages containing an image were sent from his phone number, the feds say. Seven were exchanged with someone the FBI identified and interviewed. That person confirmed he received messages from Karol Chwiesiuk on the day of the Capitol breach.

Karol Chwiesiuk had allegedly texted that person on Jan. 3, 2021, and said he was headed to Washington, D.C., to “save the nation.”

The other person replied, “fat man child lost. Give it up.”

On Jan. 6, 2021, Karol Chwiesiuk texted that he’d “knocked out a commie last night,” and then he sent the picture in which the Chicago Police Department emblem could be seen on his hoodie, according to the document. Later, Karol Chwiesiuk allegedly texted a photo that appeared to show him inside Merkley’s office.

Karol Chwiesiuk also allegedly wrote, “we inside the capital lmfao.”

The feds say the Chwiesiuks were also spotted on additional footage taken of the breach.

After Karol Chwiesiuk was arrested in June 2021, an FBI agent asked him on the way to the courthouse what he liked to do in his free time. Karol Chwiesiuk allegedly replied, “Invade capitols.” Prosecutors had hoped to use that comment against him at trial, but Sanan said the judge ruled against them.

Agnieszka Chwiesiuk was not arrested until December 2022. She was accused of accompanying her brother and spending eight minutes inside the Capitol.

Authorities say this photo depicts Agnieszka Chwiesiuk inside the U.S. Capitol.

Authorities say this photo depicts Agnieszka Chwiesiuk inside the U.S. Capitol.

U.S. District Court records

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